The first step to writing a research essay is the choice of a topic. The topic should be narrow and focused. Here is a bad example of a topic for a research paper: “An Analysis of Things Fall Apart.” Obviously, the topic is too broad. The topic should not only be focused and narrow; it should also be one that interests you. The second step is to find information, in the library or on the Internet, about your topic. You should choose reliable, credible sources – ones whose authors have scholarly credentials. If a source’s url is .edu, you will be sure that it is a reliable source since its domain is a college or a university. Articles on other domains are also acceptable if their authors have scholarly credentials. The third step is to draft your thesis statement. The thesis statement, as you already know, should be at the end of your introduction. It should be one sentence stating what the rest of the paper is about. The fourth step is to draft the paper, incorporating short quotations from the primary source or sources and secondary sources. (No more than 20% of the paper should be direct quotations. The rest should be in your own words.) The fifth step is to revise and edit your paper. Revising entails adding important or deleting some unimportant details. Editing entails correcting grammatical and punctuation errors so that the paper is readable. For your citations, you are to use the 8th edition of MLA format. The penalty for plagiarism will be a failing grade.